UK official: mosque attack treated as terrorism

An armed police officer mans a cordon on the Seven Sisters Road at Finsbury Park where a vehicle struck pedestrians in London Monday

An armed police officer mans a cordon on the Seven Sisters Road at Finsbury Park where a vehicle struck pedestrians in London Monday

One eyewitness who lives in a flat on Seven Sisters Road told the BBC she saw people "shouting and screaming".

"I've been in touch with the mosques, police.My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this very bad event".

Eyewitness Cynthia Vanzella said it was a mixed community, with people from many different countries and cultures.

Police said in a statement there were "a number of casualties", adding that they were called to reports of "a vehicle in collision with pedestrians" at 00:20 am (2320 GMT). A post mortem examination will be scheduled due course.

Commenting on reports that the van driver also produced a knife, the statement went on: "At this stage there are no reports of any persons having suffered any knife injuries".

Police said the 48-year-old man who was driving the van has been arrested and taken to a hospital as a precaution.

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"While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the awful attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect", he said.

London's Metropolitan Police said the man was pronounced dead at the scene. Many police cars and ambulances were responding.

Basu also said it was too early to say what the motive of the attacker might have been was but that the incident had all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack and that all the victims were Muslim.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said following that attack that there had been a 40-percent increase in racist incidents in the city and a fivefold increase in the number of anti-Muslim incidents.

According to the Independent, footage of the incident showed injured people motionless on the pavement as angry crowds surrounded a white man believed to be the driver.

London police have declared the crash a major incident and closed the area to normal traffic.

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The chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, Mohammed Kozbar, says the incident was a "cowardly attack" on worshippers.

It comes after two deadly Islamist attacks this year that used vehicles to ram pedestrians - one earlier this month in the London Bridge area and a March attack in which a man drove a auto into crowds on Westminster Bridge.

Its former imam Abu Hamza was jailed for life in NY on terrorism charges in 2015.

Despite the change in leadership and new focus on community relations, the mosque reported it had received a string of threatening emails and letters in the wake of the Paris attacks. Eight injured people were taken to hospitals, and a suspect was arrested. "He targeted Muslims this time", the witness, identified only as Rayan, said.

Mother-of-two Mrs Cox, who represented the Batley and Spen conctituency in West Yorkshire, was shot and stabbed as she arrived for a constituency surgery in Birstall on June 16 past year.

On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England. His attack killed five people.

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